Blake Shelton makes his return to Fresno with special guests

Blake Shelton returns to to the Save Mart Center for his tour, "Friends and Heroes" on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. Photo by: Larry Valenzuela

Country music superstar Blake Shelton brought in a packed house at the Save Mart Center for his “Friends and Heroes Tour” on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020.

Three hours and 39 songs later, Shelton was in it for the long haul for his fans. He took “hero” to a new level by bringing out some of his favorite country heroes and friends or better yet in Shelton’s words, the heroes of country music. 

American Idol’s season 10 runner up, Lauren Alaina, warmed up the crowd for Shelton with a 40 minute set.

“I don’t know if y’all noticed, but you’re at a country concert, so get on your feet.” Aliana, said. 

“Fresno, I just put out a new song called, ‘Getting Good’ this is about being present in your life and being thankful for what’s in your life,” said Alaina. “I’m always worried about what’s next, if I could have this house, or this boyfriend, when everything is right here, right now on tour with Blake Shelton and my heroes.” 

Shelton opened his set with his hit single, “Neon Light”.

“Fresno, let me set this up, you guys and girls are going to owe me by the end of this night. You are not going to believe what is going to happen here tonight. That is if you guys are really true country music fans.” said Shelton.

Shelton continues the set with his songs, “Doin’ What She Likes” and “Came Here to Forget” taking pictures with some lucky fans in between his songs. 

“I mean look at this, they are country music freaks all the way to the top of the arena, ya’ll must have been tailgating already out there,” said Shelton. “You guys are all pumped up. I’m telling you now, a lot of you guys are going to jail tonight. Look at this guy, he is double fisting. That ain’t beer, that’s a bucket.”

Shelton sipped his beer and told the crowd, “Enough about that beer, about we play a song called ‘Sangria’.” The crowd sang back with him the lyrics, “Your lips taste like sangria.” while the crowd formed a mosh pit and put up their drinks. 

“There is some UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) happening up here. You know, it probably doesn’t help me to say this, but man I have been doing this for a long time,” said Shelton. “And man I’ve been coming to Fresno for a long time, I know all about Fresno, trust me. My tour manager is a Bulldog. I probably picked the wrong time for a love song.”

The crowd started barking like bulldogs and cheered in honor of his manager being a Fresnan. 

Shelton shared that he has been coming here way before he met his manger. 

“I got to tell you, I have been here way before him, I made a lot of albums and songs, some of them sucked. We all make mistakes,” said Shelton. “Some of them, I feel like they’re pretty good, and here’s one of them.” 

He then followed with “Mine Would Be You,” while people in the crowd held onto their significant others.

Alaina made it back to the stage with Shelton to do a duet of Shelton’s song, “Lonely Tonight.”

“That’s freaking Lauren Alaina, everybody look at her. Have you ever tried to sing with her? Man it’s not easy. You were bullying me,” said Shelton. “Man she’s a good singer, I don’t know how anyone that good could come from American Idol when The Voice is out there. Because American Idol.. you know.. sucks.” 

He shared how it was weird and almost “gross” for him to be on stage singing with Alaina because of their backstory. The crowd looked up to see a picture of him and Alaina on the screen the two at his meet-and-greet when she was 6 years old.

Shelton continued his set with, “Nobody But You”, —a duet with his pop star girlfriend Gwen Stefani. The performance was accompanied by a music video of Stefani playing in the background of the set. 

Other special appearances included country singer John Anderson singing, “Seminole Wind,” “Money in the Bank” and “Swinging,” who received a standing ovation for all three of songs. The crowd screamed and soaked in the experience of a longtime country music icon like Anderson. 

“You know why this is called the friends and heroes tour? Because John Anderson is a hero right there,” Shelton said following his performance. “I wish I knew what it was like to be John Anderson.” 

Shelton performed a cover of  “Home” by Michael Buble, where he slowed down the tempo during these ballads and had the crowd with their cell phones lights on and sway in sync. 

Right after the ballad, he joked with the crowd about getting them to put their phones up after he told the crowd that their energy was higher for Anderson.

“You know, that’s something Rascal Flatts would do, and I’m just embarrassed,” Shelton said. “I’m sorry I made you guys flash your lights. I just want to be an icon like John Anderson so bad.” 

During Shelton’s set, a fan threw a retired army veteran hat on the stage. Shelton picked it up and put it on.

“I am not a veteran or retired,” Shelton said. “I like the hat.” 

The crowd cheered chanting “USA, USA” and Shelton replied, “I don’t know about y’all, what can be more American than singing a song about dogs.” This led into his song “I’ll Name the Dogs.”

Country icons, The Bellamy Brothers took to the stage to perform their hit singles, “Let Your Love Flow,” Do You Love As Good As You Look,” and “Redneck Girl.”

“Dear god and heaven, right there, that’s the Bellamy Brothers,” said Shelton. “Heroes, icons, man that calls for a drink. Have a drink with me everybody.”

For the last special guest, Trace Adkins took the stage singing his iconic song, “Honky Tonk, Badonkadonk.”

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, Adkins sang two more of his hit songs, “You’re Gonna Miss This,” and “Ladies Love Country Boys.”

Shelton returned and to the crowds surprise, he and Adkins performed two duets of Shelton’s songs, “Hell Right,” and “Hillbilly Bone.”

Sheldon jokily told a fan he wanted a drink of her beer, only to his shock that the fan’s beer was a Michelada beer, which to his response was, “That ain’t a beer, that’s a damn V8.” 

The fan then threw a Fresno State beef jerky stick on stage, where Shelton decided he would take an intermission on stage to enjoy it. “ I am a Fresno State Bulldog fan now,” Shelton said.

Later in the show, which Shelton calls his favorite part of the set, The Bellamy Brothers, Adkins, Anderson, and Shelton all took center stage together . 

“Listen you guys, I am a coach on The Voice. You’ve heard of that show right Anderson?…It’s no secret, I’m competitive,” said Shelton. “It’s just us and our guitars, so we are going to settle it here and decide who has the best country song of all of us up here.”

The five stripped down to acoustic instruments and performed cover versions of: “Who Are You Know When I’m Not Looking” by Joe Nicole, The Bellamy Brothers, “If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me,” “Every Light in The House” by Trace Adkins and lastly the five closed with “Straight Tequila Night” by John Anderson.

At the end of the night, the crowd cheered “Blake Blake Blake,” and Shelton closed the night out with a cover of “God Gave Me You” by Dave Barnes.

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